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Exhaling Gratitude

November 7, 2017

With the holidays vastly approaching, I can only begin to feel the pain of those who will look around to empty seats at the dining room table, to a missing stocking on the fireplace or a lack of holiday spirit altogether to spare themselves some hurt. Believe me, I’ve been there. I was there the first Christmas without my mom, I am there now and will be there in all of the years to come.

For the past 13 years, holidays in our household have, for lack of a better word been very “non-traditional.” Thanksgiving has been spent anywhere but our own house, usually surrounded by people who are a lot better at cooking than we are. Our Christmas tree is lucky to get more than lights hanging from its withering limbs, and Christmas Eve dinner has, on more occasions than one, been served down the street at the local Chinese restaurant.

The countless bittersweet emotions makes this time of year difficult to say the least. As much as I so badly wish to look around to a house filled with decorations and home cooked meals like I used to, that is no longer my reality. Our neighborhood will never again be lit by candles awaiting Santa’s arrival, my mom will never get to sew together another Halloween costume for me and I will never get the chance to hear her play “Away in the Manger” as we snuggle up next to one another on the piano bench.

I won’t lie, for years I envied my friends and their family “get-togethers.” I had been so wrapped up in the ideal, white picketed fence traditions that I (regretfully) missed so many opportunities to be grateful for the quirky “traditions” we were building and the memories we were making our own way.

But, to be honest, I don’t even eat meat, so to hell with that Thanksgiving turkey. I will take early morning “trots”, pounding the pavement next to my dad any day and I will take stockings stuffed with lottery tickets if that means an extra 10 minutes filled with laughter around the Christmas tree.

I am beyond grateful for the old memories that I will always hold near and dear to my heart but this year, more than ever, I am grateful for the new ones we are creating.

I am grateful for Chinese food and for friends who have opened up their homes to an extra three hungry bodies. I am grateful for pumpkin carving competitions and bare Christmas trees. For hot tubs, and sangria, and toasts between friends to our accomplishments and future endeavors. I am grateful for the new faces that accompany us at the table who have reminded us what it means to be family and more importanlty, never judged us during a game of Phase 10 🙂

I am grateful for Christmas at Crossroads, for Wesco coffee and for the two boys that love harder, shine brighter and are filled with so much cheer on a day-to-day basis that even Santa Claus would be envious. Although sometimes ridiculous, these memories are mine and these traditions are ours. They are what make us who we are and next to those two crazy Comstocks, is exactly where I will always choose to be.

xx, Paige Marie

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